Hans Heyer

There are many strange stories in Formula 1 but few are as strange as the tale of Hans Heyer's one and only Grand Prix appearance. Heyer was a German, born in Monchengladbach in 1943. He enjoyed considerable success in German touring car racing in the 1970s and in 1977 was entered to drive an ATS-run Penske PC4, which was known as the ATS HS1. The team had started the year with drivers Jean-Pierre Jarier and Jochen Mass but after Monaco Jarier departed and there was a string of drivers trying their luck, including a young Keke Rosberg.

Heyer landed the drive for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim but failed to qualify the car, a fate similar to many of those who had tried before him. Heyer was first reserve. In those days the reserve was all ready to go in case anything happened to one of the regular runners. Nothing did happen but Heyer decided that he had come a long way not to drive in the Grand Prix and so took off from the pitlane. He raced illegally for a few laps before being black-flagged and was sent packing by race officials.

Heyer then went back to sportscar racing and the following year won the Mugello Six Hours in a Porsche 935 with Toine Hezemans and John Fitzpatrick. He also won the Nurburgring 1000 and in 1979 added the Silverstone Six Hours to his honours. In 1980 he shared a Lancia Monte Carlo with F1 driver Riccardo Patrese to win the Watkins Glen Six Hours. In the early 1980s he was very successful in touring car racing, winning the Spa 24 Hours on three separate occasions and he rounded off a strong career with triumph in the Sebring 12 Hours, partnered by Stefan Johansson and Mauricio de Narvaez in 1984.